Kibbutz Metzer, between the Shomron and Hadera in central Israel, is in mourning today after a terrorist infiltrated the town last night, slaughtered two children and three adults, and then kept the security forces and the residents on tense alert until this morning when it was ascertained that he had safely fled the area.

The murderer entered the kibbutz (agricultural collective), 30 miles northeast of Tel Aviv and only a few hundred meters from the pre-1967 armistice line (Green Line), shortly before midnight. He first shot at two people walking on a path, mortally wounding Tirtzah Damari, 42, of Elyachin, but not injuring her companion, who managed to escape and hide out in a barn for several hours. Yitzchak Dori, 43, head of the kibbutz secretariat, came to assist when he heard the gunfire, and apparently fired several shots at the terrorist - but to no avail. The Arab shot at him as well and killed him, then entered a house and pumped bullets into 4- and 5-year-old brothers and their mother - the Ochayon family - as she was cowering with them in their bedroom.

It was not clear at that point how many terrorists were involved, or where he or they were, and residents were ordered to stay indoors with their lights off while a thorough manhunt in every corner of the kibbutz was launched. Only around 7 AM were the residents allowed out, after the terrorist was declared to have fled. Very heavy police, Border Guard, and IDF forces remained in neighboring areas.

Yitzchak Dori was buried this afternoon in Metzer, while at the same time Tirtzah Damari was being laid to rest in Moshav Elyachin, near Hadera. Tirtzah is the third Oslo War victim from Elyachin in the past year, though the town itself was never attacked.

The funerals of the Ochayon family members - Revital and her two sons Matan, 5, and Noam, 4 - will be held this evening in the Haifa area. Revital, described as a "powerhouse of energy," was separated from her husband, with whom she was speaking on the phone when the terrorist entered her home. She and her two children moved to Netzer from Pardes Chana a few months ago. Her former husband said today that he heard the gunshot and the children's screams over the phone. In a voice broken with sobs, he said afterwards that though he knew what had happened, "they wouldn't let me in to the kibbutz for three hours. 'Be optimistic,' they told us… Do you know what's it like for two 5-year old kids? … Do you know how beautiful they were?"